I’m not a fan of winter. I hate being cold, I hate taking the delayed public transit and I hate walking around in soggy, slushy boots. To keep my spirits up, I usually try to participate in some local winter activities to get out of my hibernation funk.
This holiday week, Katie and I were able to make time for each other to check out the Winter Village at Evergreen Brickworks. Our original goal was to dust off our old skates and glide a few circles around the picturesque make-shift rink they had set up. There were beautiful pine trees in the middle of the ice and delicate strings of lights hanging over the crowd, I’m sure it would set the scene for romance if you were to attend with a date at night.
Our plan was perfect apart from the fact that we (and our skates) were a bit rusty. For the less than 20 minutes we were out there, we had a good time. Mainly laughing at ourselves trying to keep upright or how much everything seemed to hurt. Maybe a good goal to set for ourselves in the New Year would be to brush up on our skating skills – but we’ll get back to you on that one.
After a quick skate, we decided to treat ourselves to some delicious spiked apple cider to warm up ($7).Speaking of warming up; the outdoor market place had multiple fire pits you could take a break around. We ended up snagging one fire pit to ourselves, which was nice and surprising, maybe it was the holidays or the time of day we attended (we were there from 12-2:30). If boozy apple cider isn’t for you there was also a selection of craft beer, hot chocolate, coffee and tea.
After catching up around the fire with a beautiful winter scene of snow covered trees and vintage brick buildings behind us, our grumbling stomachs decided it was time to see what the food trucks had to offer. Katie’s eye was caught by Heirloom’s menu of a pulled duck sandwich and I stuck to the same truck but ordered their fried butter chicken sandwich ($10 a sandwich)….(Check them out on twitter at @HeirloomToronto) It was quick and yummy and the perfect way to end our visit. If Heirloom’s doesn’t sound like your favourite choice, there was a French fry station, Los Vietnamita (Vietnamese – Mexican fusion), Indian Street Food Co Inc, Chorizo’s La Abuela (traditional Mexican) and a few more to choose from. There is something for everybody!
We took a walk around the Etsy market, but it didn’t look like all the store fronts were open, to be fair it was still technically the holidays so they may have taken the day off. We saw some handmade, 100% organic beauty products, baked goods (I wanted to grab some so badly, but I was eating a little too much junk over the Christmas break), some knitted alpaca sweaters, mitts, hats and scarves and what looked to be like graffiti artists.
We had fun and I would say that it’s definitely worth the trek. It’s great for families, dates or even just some girl time to catch up. Want to attend? Well, you’re in luck; it’s on until February 28th. (Dec 26- Jan 8 hours: Weekdays & Weekends 11am-6pm, Jan 9-Feb 28 open on weekends only from 11am-6pm)
Things to note: Free entry, skates available for rent, paid parking available but there is also a free shuttle (departs from corner of Erindale Ave & Broadview 7 days a week) or TTC service on the 28 Bayview South bus from Davisville Station.
Bundle up and have some fun at the #WinterVillageTO !
Until next event!
How have I never heard of the Toronto Baker’s Market before?! I saw an ad for it by chance while scrolling through Instagram earlier this weekend and knew I had to go! I have such a sweet tooth and the idea of over 25 vendors (and choices) at the event sounded like my kind of Sunday.
It took place on the 2nd floor of the Ralph Thornton Community Center on Queen Street East, just follow the smell of fresh baked goods up the stairs.
What I LOVE about this event is that it was started by two sisters, Kathleen & Gillian Cook, who had a common love of sweets and treats and wanted to find a way to bring enthusiastic bakers together for a giant bake sale. During the year they have had events take place in both the East and West ends of the city. I’m late to the game here and was told this would be the last market of 2016. (Here’s hoping for more in 2017, I mean, REALLY hoping!)
I was really impressed by everyone’s creations! You could really tell they were carefully made, and made with love. My boyfriend decided to grab a late breakfast with his coffee and bought a really delicious maple glazed donut topped with bacon. It was moist, not too heavy and had the perfect amount of glaze. I think it took a lot of will power from my boyfriend to even let me have a bite! (They also had S’mores & Eggnog glazed available!)
The donuts were made by Jiten Glover, the Founder of ‘Dipped Donuts’, he told me he operates out of his house and this is his second time attending the Baker’s Market. I think it’s really great for bakers that have a side business like this or bake as a hobby to have such a great outlet to sell their goodies! I may have never heard of him otherwise! For more information on Dipped Donuts, check out www.DippedDonuts.com.
Something that caught my eye was a beautiful heart shaped mousse cake from ‘Dessertique’s’. It was covered in a bright red mirror glaze, soft on the inside and had a little layer of black currant (aka my weakness). It really was beautifully done, it looked like art! It reminded me of a giant cinnamon heart! They have recently opened up shop in Vaughan, but baker Nika Rahimova who works with them, told me she was planning on having a Toronto location soon. It’s good news for us city folk, but maybe not for my waistline. I could really see her creations being popular at weddings or other formal events. Dessertique’s website is not currently up and running, but they do have a Facebook page if you wanted to learn more about their creations! Also be sure to check out Nika herself at @macaroonnika on social media, she is really very talented.
Another fun item we purchased were multicolored meringue‘s from Blossom Bakery which can be found all over the GTA and online at www.BlossomBakery.ca .I couldn’t believe how light and delicious they were while being vegan and gluten free at the same time! (OK, I’m a believer now!) I regret not buying more!
Monkey Butter was also for sale at the market! I was very excited to try it since I have seen them all over social media and have heard great things. They have many different flavours and peanut butter combinations to choose from. They are made in small batches with all natural ingredients so you can feel good about this purchase. Also, have amazing flavours like chocolate banana, gingerbread and maple bacon! After sampling and much deliberation, I went with the coconut flavour. Can’t wait to try this on French toast next weekend! Be sure to visit them on social media at @MonkeyButterPB or on their website www.MonkeyButterPB.com.
Other honourable mentions are Anna Liu and her Quinoa Pecan Brittle (again, who knew gluten free, vegan, and quinoa based brittle no less could be so delicious !?) and proceeds of the brittle were going to help a women ‘shelter, what a win –win! Helping those in need AND getting a tasty treat. Sadly, they didn’t have a website or social media handle, but I’ll include a picture of the smiling duo.
Last but not least, I’ll say enjoyed Craigs’ Cookies. I bought a chocolate chip cookie with a piece of Terry’s Chocolate Orange in it! Oh baby, oh baby! (Surprisingly, not vegan or gluten free! Ha!) He is another baker that does this in his spare time and he can be found online at @CraigsCookies .
All in all, the Toronto Baker’s Market was so much fun, I’m sad I didn’t know about it until now and some of the baker’s I spoke to were unsure if it was going to operate into 2017. I for one REALLY hope it does, it makes a great afternoon out and I really loved learning more about local bakeries or those who just genuinely love creating out of their house on the side. I think it’s a win for the customers and the bakers!
To learn more about the Toronto Baker’s Market, and keep an eye on their next event (fingers crossed) check them out online at www.TorontoBakersMarket.com. If you have a knack for making baked goods or own a bakery, you can even apply to join in on their next market... and please do, I really want to try your specialities! YUM!
Until next event!
I love beer. More specifically, I LOVE winter ales. Anytime a brewery has a special holiday brew out, I always feel like I have to try it.
So I was thrilled when LagerShed (Shaun & Ed Brewing Co.) hooked me up with tickets to attend a sold out Hoppy Holidays ‘Craftmas beer experience’ at the Berkeley Church (315 Queen St E) They’re a fairly new brewery located in Dundas, Ontario (65 Hatt Street).The team at the event told me they had just opened in April and were on their way into being available in the Beer Store and LCBO. This was good news for me, as I really enjoyed their BarrelShed brew – it was aged gently in wine barrels to produce a pretty unique, woody taste. If you’re ever in Dundas, they have a brewery there where you can pop by for a peek and some samples. For more info check them out at www.LagerShed.com.
Now onto the Berkeley! This is my second year attending Hoppy Holidays and I might even dare to say that the event may be out growing the venue! We arrived about an hour and a half after doors opened and it was pretty packed. We also had a lengthy wait for the coat check as it was “full & unavailable” when we first arrived.
Other than that, the event was really fun. Drink Inc events usually hit the nail right on the head from the brews and food they choose to their event space. This year’s participating breweries were Amsterdam, Barnstormer Brewing Co, Beau’s, Big Rock, Goose Island, Walter’s Caesar mix, MacKinnon Brothers, Old Tomorrow, Pint Pursuits, Shaun & Ed Brewing Co, Mill St, Brickworks Ciderhouse ,Niagara Oast House, Side Launch, Shiny Apple Cider, High Park Brewery, Velha & Co, and f Nickel Brook Brewing….WHEW!
I’m not sure I remembered there being ciders available at last year’s Hoppy Holidays (but don’t quote me on that!) so I was happy to see a little more variety this year, as I’m pretty partial to ciders. I finally got around to trying Brickworks’ Stadium Cherry cider (I had a hard time trying to find it at the LCBO for some reason) and if you’re a fan of sour/tart ciders I would really recommend it. It was a nice way to break up the ale samples and I could see it being my go-to summer drink for next year. I’m hoping they’ll release a few more flavours and always look forward to trying their new products – not to mention I love buying local!
An interesting winter ale I tried was Barnstormer’s Polar Pumpkin Ale, my boyfriend said it smelled like pumpkin pie and it was pretty easy going down despite being a heavier ale. It had pretty distinct notes of cinnamon and nutmeg and makes a great desert beer.
Other honourable mentions of winter brews that I enjoyed were:
Niagara Oast House’s Roasted Chestnut Brown Ale (malty and nutty aroma, hint of chocolate or what my partner described as coffee)
Nickel Brook Brewing’s Winter Porter
Big Rock’s Yuletide Stout
…If you haven’t noticed, I prefer darker ale!
I’m pretty sure that I am late to the game with this one, but I was really intrigued with Beau’s ‘New Lang Syne’- which the Beaus team described to me as champagne and Beau’s mixed together. I’m not the biggest fan of champagne but upon trying it was a bit sweeter than I thought it would be, it has hints of lemon zest, papaya and tropical fruits. I liked it so much that I hopped onto the Beaus website to learn a bit more about it. They age part of the brew in pinot gris barrels for 4 months before blending the barrel aged portion back into the rest of the batch. It’s light and bubbly and I will definitely be picking up a, to be honest, beautiful bottle of it to bring to a New Years Eve party this year. The bottle is actually what caught my eye first, with colourful font and cork top. I was told it’s suitable for aging, so I will probably buy a few to keep around the house.
I always look forward to these events so much since I usually find a new favourite or learn about a new up and coming brewery. I’ve definitely added a few new brews to my list of what to pick up over the holiday season and maybe after reading this you will have too!
Until next event!
Let me start off by saying The Little Mermaid is my all time favourite Disney movie. I know the words to all the songs, I could recite it line by line and to me, it’s almost sacred! Having said that, I was more than a little exited to see the Lower Ossington Theatres (LOT) production of it! This was the first time that I saw a play from the LOT play at the Randolph Theatre. It’s a lot bigger than the stages at the Ossington location and used for the bigger production plays. It used to be a church so our seats in the balcony were actually pews (surprisingly comfortable).
Keep in mind, the LOT doesn’t have a Mirvish budget, but I almost always walk away from one of their productions impressed and I always really enjoy seeing their new plays.
The Little Mermaid play closed on Broadway in 2009 and I was pretty sad that I didn’t get the chance to see it. The original production underperformed and didn’t last too long, and to be honest after seeing the play, I can see why. There were some inconsistencies & its generally tough trying to portray half of the characters being ‘underwater’ (some main underwater characters used roller skate sneakers to create the illusion of floating and gliding). Things that I enjoyed about the play were new songs, ‘I Want The Goods Times Back’ which gives a little more backstory between Ursula & King Triton & ‘Positoovity’ performed by Scuttle and his pals.
The classic musical numbers ‘Under the Sea’ & ‘Kiss the Girl’ were well done& a joy to watch. The costumes were adorable & creative. My friend & I were particularly fond of the giant snail.
The play is cutesy and definitely made for children, so know this before making your purchase. I knew this going into it but as a 30 year old woman, still enjoyed it. My friend & I actually ended up coincidentally whispering “Yaaaay” together when the lights went down to start the second half of the play.
Ariel is played by Kate Suhr and is a true professional. She’s no stranger to playing leads; in fact, I recently saw her playing the role of Mary Poppins at the LOT as well. Her voice sounded a lot like the Ariel from the movies and she’s a great singer, so that was a lot of fun. The kids in the audience were really excited to see her and kept waving or squealing whenever she floated out onto the stage.
Who really ended up stealing the show was Ursula played by Saphire Demitro. Saying she was fantastic would be an understatement. She was excellent at playing the villain, and her voice is absolutely incredible. I felt that she was so good that she was almost out of place in this play. I feel like she is on her way to something big and wonderful and is definitely one to watch!
During the play there was an unexpected issue with the sound and the background music suddenly stopped. During the awkward pause where Sebastian the crab (played by Harold Lumilan) was due to sing a solo to Ariel, he decided to sing acapella after a prolonged period of silence. I feel like he couldn’t have done it any better. The audience appreciated it too, and he was met with applause. The delay lasted about 2 minutes. Unfortunately, this isn’t the only sound issue I’ve experience at a LOT production. I sometimes find that the character’s mic’s aren’t loud enough or the microphones aren’t turned on in time for them to read a line and the first few words are quiet. It’s the only complaint I have about the LOT and really enjoy their plays otherwise.
All in all, I had fun with all the nostalgia. If you have children who enjoy Disney productions, I would recommend LOT’s The Little Mermaid as a family night out. I do believe the production is coming to a close, but this is the second year in a row they have done the play, so I’m sure it will be back at The Randolph soon. If you can’t make it in time for closing, Mary Poppins is still playing at the LOT’s Ossington location. For ticket information visit www.lowerossingtontheatre.com or keep an eye out on Groupon, as I’ve seen tickets pop up from time to time. Also, I suggest signing up for the LOT’s e-mail newsletter, as I’ve gotten a lot of e-mails with specials or promo codes.
Until next event!
Hey! I'm Sarah! A 30 something living in downtown Toronto with a great guy and an OK dog. I love seeing what my city has to offer and try to hit up as many fun events or attractions as I can! I haven't slept since 2004.